The Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee (KITTY) League will embark upon its third season on Friday night as a summer collegiate baseball league playing under the banner of the storied old class D league.
Rare among start-up leagues, the loop played its second year with all four initial cities returning (Sikeston, Mo, Farmington, Mo, Union City, Tenn, Fulton, Ky,) and with expansion teams in Owensboro, Ky, and McKenzie, Tenn.
This the third year sees the first franchise shift. The Tennessee T’s played in 2006 on the campus of Bethel College at McKenzie at a field without lights that proved impractical and the franchise was eliminated and a new franchise awarded to the Tradewater Pirates, representing the Dawson Springs, Ky. area.
The Pirates have operated for several years as a semi-pro independent team, but club officials elected to enter the KITTY League for 2007. The Pirates play in a rebuilt stadium patterned after an historic ballpark in Dawson Springs where the Pittsburgh Pirates took spring training before moving their pre-season base to Florida.
Owensboro is the defending champion. Farmington won the initial season title in 2005.
The Central Illinois Collegiate League, one of the pioneers of summer collegiate baseball, and the KITTY League will meet in late July for an all-star game. The CICL has long been recognized as one of the premier college loops in the United States. More information will be released shortly concerning the all-star game.
Also new for 2007, the KITTY League will have a play-off structure following the completion of the championship season. A Shaughnessy elimination will have a new twist. The sixth place finisher will play the third place team and the fifth place finisher will play the fourth team in a single game elimination for the right to enter the Shaughnessy rounds.